Will NZUSA survive?

If I was running , I’d be focused on what changes are needed for student associations (and NZUSA) need to make, to prosper under – rather than still fighting a battle which has been lost.

NZUSA has just had their January conference, and a number of people have been kind enough to send me their documents. Act on Campus have already blogged on these, including the $77,000 lost NZUSA made in 2009.

New Zealand has eight universities and 20 polytechnics/technology institutes.

Currently 14 of those 28 institutions have a student association that is a member of NZUSA, of which only 12 are full members. Those 12 full members represent only 84,000 EFTS. But even that low level, may get smaller.

No fewer than nine student associations have gien notice of withdrawal – they are OPSA, AS@U, SAWIT, WITSA, WSA, OUSA, ASA, EXMSS and MUSA. They represent almost 50,000 ETS, which would leave NZUSA representing – well basically Victoria, Lincoln and Waikato only (plus a couple of minors).

I hope NZUSA do survive, but if they do not, then it would create an opportunity for alternate representation to emerge nationally.

It occurs to me that a professionally run organisation that focused purely on lobbying the Government on behalf of students on core education and welfare issues, and communicated directly with students about its advocacy on their behalf could well get say 30% of students willing to tick a box at enrolment to join it for $5. That should be enough to have a budget of $300,000 or so. Rather than have the lobbying done by a succession of Labour student politicians, you’d actually have a professional executive director who could work with all Governments, and over time could build up a very high regard.

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